Issue: Planet of the Apes #16
Writer: Daryl Gregory
Artist: Carlos Magno
Colors: Darrin Moore
Letters: Travis Lanham
Cover A: Carlos Magno with Nolan Woodard
Cover B: Damian Couceiro with Nolan Woodard
Cover C: Carlos Magno
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “What? Another issue of that comic about talking monkeys?”
I say to that: “How dare you call them monkeys? They’re apes! And they do more than just talk. They rush into warfare, indulge in sweeping generalizations, and plot to stab each other in the back every time they turn around.” Basically, it’s a hairy version of Shakespeare.
Anyway, this installment Nerise has accomplished her coup and installed herself as the new Voice. Alaya is being held prisoner. There are reports that the “retraining” camps are revolting (the retraining camps are where the humans are being held and taught they are little more than sheep. Sully, the human resistance leader, has been rallying them to fight). But the new Voice has a problem: she needs to send apes to put down the revolts in the camps, but at the same time she needs those apes near her so she can consolidate her power. In true (yet incompetent) Machiavellian fashion, she has Alaya’s supporters in the Council arrested.
Yet something interesting is happening. A bald human turns out to be controlling her. And he is communicating to her telepathically. Obviously the bald humans are the forerunners of the telepathic humans from the 1970 film Beneath the Planet of the Apes. You know the ones I’m talking about, right? The ones that worship the nuclear war head? It’s easy to figure out, but that’s okay. The thrill of this comic series is not the surprise of how it all ends. We know it all ends with “You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you… Damn you all to Hell!”
The thrill is seeing how we get there. And here is another piece of the puzzle: is it possible that, instead of merely retreating underground and staying out of sight, the telepaths engineered ape society? Obviously, it’s going to be more complicated than that. But it’s starting to look like that’s a piece of the puzzle.
Meanwhile, as Sully liberates more camps, Alaya is rotting in a cell somewhere. Nix visits under cover of darkness to explain his plan to get her free, which is basically that when all hell breaks loose, he’ll help her make a run for it. Alaya doesn’t want to leave without her adopted son Julian. But what choice does she have?
Meanwhile, Ambassador Hulss is explaining to the Golden Khan why he allied himself with the humans to help them revolt. He believes in equality between humans and apes (blasphemer!). It looks like the Golden Khan is the right place. They have humans and apes working together in that society. And they are importing arms. And they are going to use those arms to take over all ape city-states (in the name of peace, no less). Things are getting epic.
This is a good installment. We see at the end that the bald humans — the telepaths — have been doing some heavy maneuvering, and aren’t afraid to use their mind control to achieve their goals. Are their goals any more lofty than the apes’? Of course not! The bald humans would say they’re lofty. They are a religious people, after all. But that’s just a rationalization. One of the great lines in this issue illustrates the point: “Fur… skin… it don’t matter. We’re all bastards to our bones.”
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars